“We act as though comfort and luxury
were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need
to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
Brokelyn is a webmag devoted to living the best possible life in Brooklyn regardless of one’s means. It was founded in 2009 as a post-crash survival guide by Faye Penn, a writer and editor for magazines and newspapers including The New York Observer, New York Magazine, The New York Post, InStyle and Marie Claire, among others. Since then, Brokelyn has evolved into a general interest destination whose irreverent mix of news and humor have made it essential reading for people who live, work and go out in Brooklyn, plus other people who just want to. We also run a bar guide and publish the wildly popular Brokelyn Beer Books. Find out how to advertise on Brokelyn here.
Brokelyn’s “angel investor” was a New York City cab driver named Susan who passed away in 2008. She was a scrapper and a news junkie whose cantankerous wit enlivened the letters pages of every newspaper in town. She was also a generous person with unique ideas about friendship. Thanks, Susan. We hope they have Wifi wherever you are.
Meet Team Brokelyn
From: Brooklyn, NY. Cobble Hill born, Park Slope raised.
Favorite cheap Brooklyn Activity: Dollar slice is the only slice. Also, furnishing my life with street furniture.
When not Brokelyning: Writing a book about the notorious Gowanus Batcave, ogling house porn and drinking apple juice (but only on Sundays).
Cheapest Secret, One Splurge: If you fold an empty MetroCard between “this” and “side” it’ll trick some turnstiles into thinking, for one swipe only, that it’s an unlimited. Splurge: Cannoli — the good kind ain’t cheap.
From: Northern Virginia
Favorite cheap Brooklyn activity: reading by the water at one of the very few North BK waterfront spots that are still open to the public.
When not Brokelyning: I’m writing and editing books, biking, and going to every unusual quirky performance or cultural event I can, because why else do we put up with the insanity of living here?
Cheap secret, one splurge: Salon Apprentice. I’ve never paid for a haircut or dye job in my entire 15 years in NYC. Also am a casual fan of dumpster diving and a rabid fan of clothing swaps. I think my secret splurge is bras because they are srsly just too important to skimp on.
From: Manhasset, NY. Also known as East Egg. Yes, I knew Gatsby.
Favorite cheap Brooklyn activity: Getting a burrito ($6.50) and beer ($2) at Urban Rustic and sitting in McCarren Park watching people exercise.
When not Brokelyning: I’m drinking beer, talking about beer, or looking for the next bar to add to the Brokelyn Bar Guide.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Street shopping. And by that I mean picking up furniture and other gems (books, records, the occasional cash register) off the streets and putting them in my house. Splurge: beer festivals, anything craft beer related.
From: Long Beach, NY. It’s ah, a long beach
Favorite cheap Brooklyn Activity: Eating free wings on Mondays at the Brazen Head. Listening to arguments drift in through my window. Also the Sol and tequila special at The Narrows has been known to cause feelings of invincibility. At least, it does for me.
Favorite cheap Brooklyn activity: I get drunk and tweet things about the Mets and hockey, write the occasional short story and try to figure out why I’m not at Shea Stadium on any given day.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Writing for Brokelyn means free breakfasts on Thursdays. It’s not a secret anymore, but have you seen our guide to bars with free food? You’ll never grocery shop again. Splurge: MetroCards. I don’t care if it is public transportation, the subway is for rich people.
From: Clinton, Connecticut (the New England part—not the New York part—of the country’s third-smallest state)
Cheap Brooklyn activity: Biking down to the beach! (This is technically pedaling through Kings to get to Queens, but shhh!)
When not Brokelyning: I’m making all the things from the kitchen to the lab. Or exploring. Or drinking. Or exploring while drinking.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Keep your living expenses down–compromise on location for rent, cook most of your own meals from scratch, and bike everywhere forever–and this ridiculously expensive city becomes surprisingly affordable. I will splurge on the occasional cocktail, but a well-made one with good company is well worth it. (You can also make them yourself for dimes on the dollar…but we’re talking splurges, here!)
From: Annapolis, Md.
Favorite cheap Brooklyn Activity: Biking down to Fort Tilden Beach and enjoying the free sun and surf.
When not Brokelyning: I work in an office, as my pale complexion belies. I also co-edit a literary quarterly and complain loudly about hipsters to anyone who will listen.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Secret: People will just hand you money on the street if you threaten them. Splurge: Books and notebooks of any kind. And handguns.
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Favorite cheap Brooklyn Activity: Hunting. It requires patience and laser focus. It once took me over a year of stalking my prey, but I found THE perfect leather moto jacket at No Relation Vintage…for $20.
When not Brokelyning: Art directing & graphic designing at an agency for money. Making art and working on my ‘zine for love.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Always ALWAYS pick up books from the street. One man’s trash is my mother’s future birthday gift. I splurge on plane tickets. There’s so many places to see, and I want to order the cheapest beer available in all of them.
From: Canarsie (what happens when you fall asleep on the L), then Oceanside, NY (what happens when you fall asleep on the Belt Parkway)
Favorite cheap Brooklyn Activity: Bocce at Union Hall. It’s only expensive if you’re a lush. So maybe this isn’t my cheap activity…
When not Brokelyning: I write humor and sketch comedy, perform improv, host trivia nights, perform bhangra solos at gigantic Indian weddings, frequent K-Town for my karaoke/galbi fix, and recreate the last meal requests of Death Row prisoners. Currently trying to turn my backyard into a garden/outdoor theater.
Cheapest Secret, One Splurge: If you want to enhance your free Brooklyn Bridge Park movie with a pizza from Grimaldi’s, call and order for pickup and bypass the perennially long line. Give up alcohol in the month of February: No major holidays, and it’s still cold, so you have an excuse to stay in more. You’ll lose weight, get smarter, and save tons of money (true story). Splurge: Maker’s Mark. Also, anything that’s guaranteed FUN.
From: San Francisco, CA
Favorite cheap Brooklyn Activity: Complaining about Brooklyn.
When not Brokelyning: I’m telling jokes, slinging coffee, taking names.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: I won’t buy beer unless it comes with free food, but I will pay any amount for a pińa colada.
Faye Penn: Founder
From: Framingham, MA., an utterly unrivaled mall town.
Favorite cheap Brooklyn Activity: Riding back and forth on the Ikea ferry with contraband; walking around Ditmas Park pretending I’m in the Catskills.
When not Brokelyning, I… Work as Executive Editor of The New York Observer. Hang out with Papa Brokelyn and our three kids.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Cheapest secret: $8 eyebrow threading at Raheela’s Coney Island Avenue. Also, buying coffee beans at TJ Maxx. There’s way more than one splurge, but I’m going with highlights by Borja Cau. She’s a genius.